Interview: Denis D'Amour, Voivod


FAR OUT


From Quebec, Voivod, a band whose songs are inspired by the realms of Science Fiction. They're also a band who've been bedevilled by bad luck, such as problems with incompatible record companies or guitarist/ songwriter Denis D'Amour's brush with the Grim Reaper. 

Their strange, harsh progressive rock (their new LP's called The Outer Limits), doesn't light my candle, but any band with such a troubled and unusual past are worth delving into. So, with Denis on the line from Montreal, I inquired about their fascination for mysterious little men and flying saucers.
"As kids, we spent our childhood in the frozen wilderness of Upper Quebec," he recalls, "and we used to lie under the stars at night imagining aliens visiting us. Coming from this remote place just allowed us to use our imaginations, especially when we got stoned!"
Which fed their fixation for the 1930s Sci-Fi magazines as well as the glut of gloriously naive OTT Sci-Fi films from the '50s. D'Amour stresses that in the past there was, understandably, more awe and mystery about what was out there in the galaxy. And it's that feeling which attracts them. Although when I ask if he's actually had any ET experiences, I'm almost surprised when he replies, "Non."

Apparently, drummer/ lyricist Michael Langevin's 'lyrical visions' have their roots in a near fatal car crash he suffered, resulting in his skull being split open.

There're are murmurings about this making him schizophrenic. But, as Denis reasons: 

"Everybody gets a certain degree of schizophrenia and paranoia, and there's nobody who's clean on that. It's just that some people get more. It doesn't mean that they're not in control. It just means that they've got the door open on this world. And something like that kind of accident can make you see that even more."
Langevin also dwells on the Cyberpunk theme. Lost Machine seems to be about the conflict between man and machine.
"People rely too much on computers," reckons Denis. "That's what scares me. Now you need computers for almost everything. And if the electricity's gone, what are you gonna do!? And this 'virtual reality' makes me afraid too, because people will not talk to anybody in the street. They're just gonna go in their box."
And, even more worrying, their 17-minute piece Jack Luminous, works on the future premise of a sinister, digitally created US President taking control by means of "hypnotising people."

If nothing else, Voivod are out there on their own. As Denis says laughing: 

"I'm happy that people have a hard time putting a tag on us. We can do anything!"

FULL ALBUM



Mark Liddell
Riff Raff
August, 1993
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